et me tell you a story that took place far before your time. A story about cruelty, envy, strife, fear and hatred. A story about ancient faith, divine knowledge and a very special place.
All of those things happened so many years ago that the memory of this dark time has dwindled from the minds of most Tibians and only the most well-read of them can still remember scrappy details about the very first inquisition.
I have travelled the world for many decades, searching for ancient documents and looking for those people who can still remember.
Throughout the years of my research, I have come across many contradictory statements. It is not unusual that over all the centuries that have passed since then, a lot of information has been lost and supposed facts have unfortunately very often turned out to be nothing more than old wives' tales and falsehoods.
However, everything I have found out, I want to share with you now. I am afraid that I have already gone too far, I digged too deep.
With my research and questions, I trod on the toes of very dangerous people, yet what I have discovered is unbelievable. I am afraid that this letter is my one time chance to tell you about it, they will make sure of that.
My mind is too weak to fully grasp my discoveries. I feel that the flood of information is causing my brain to burst and yet I cannot stop. It is like a drug and I have already passed the stage of a simple addiction. This is now my only purpose in life.
In the best case, I will probably just go insane and die an unnatural death. In the worst case, they will find out about my treason and come for me.
This letter is to warn you, to proselytise, to protect your souls, so listen carefully to what I have to tell you about this place and the first inquisition.
Since the first purgers and the fledgling inquisition, brave men and women have routed out the dark nests of vile sorcerers and other practitioners of the dark arts. They dragged the heathens and blasphemers into the light and put their abominable tomes of sacrilegious knowledge to the torch.
The purging flames burnt away countless of the unspeakable books that were unearthed and the nights were illuminated by the blaze of the cleansing fires of the just.
All the scheming covens, necromancers and consorts of demons received the wages of sin and their legacy and knowledge were eradicated along with them - or so it seemed.
As I have learned from old documents, it seemed that regardless of how many copies of the forbidden books were destroyed, new copies resurfaced sooner or later.
This happened with a daunting frequency as if an unseen hand was constantly undoing any efforts made by the brave followers of what is true and pure.
Again and again, temptable souls were drawn into the darkness by these forbidden tomes that seemingly appeared out of nowhere, sometimes even amid reputable books in common libraries.
More and more it became apparent, that there had to be a source for this possessive knowledge.
A place, secreted away from the mortal eye, which originated those books like a pesthole spewing out its contagious disease.
A place that even the long arm of the inquisition could not reach.
By meticulous research and calling in favours, I slowly figured out a pattern that suggested a disturbing possibility: Barely mentioned in ancient texts and only vaguely hinted in obscure and dark fairy tales, there is a place whose existence is officially denounced by the church of Uman.
In a mockery of all that is true and holy, all those books, forbidden, mind bending, soul devouring, are stored and copied in a single place of darkest knowledge.
It is a place so secret and hidden that only very few chosen ones know about it: The secret library of Zathroth.
I have spent the following years of my life searching for clues to the location of this library. However, every clue I found turned out to be only a piece of a bigger puzzle.
I travelled to countless sites and areas and it took me six clues to find until I was finally able to determine the location of the library more precisely.
What can I say, the library really exists and I found it! Unfortunately, this is also the place where I am going to die. The concentrated knowledge I found here has drawn me into its spell.
The stories, reports and secrets written in the books here exceed human imagination by far.
Manifests and essays on cruel methods and devious experiments that no normal person could even imagine can be found here in every nook and cranny.
Forbidden writings from bygone times, reports from eyewitnesses of the darkest days and wars as well as sordid evidence of corruption and bribery in old noble families create a feeling of disgust and curiosity at the same time in me.
Everything seems so surreal. The rooms, no, actually they are halls, are meters high and filled to the brim with knowledge and wisdom.
I have seen places so full of knowledge that that knowledge has even burst out of the books and spread over the ground as a landmass.
Mighty stone columns, thicker than any tree trunk, tower up in the halls and carry the weight of the ceiling.
Wells filled with pitch-black ink instead of water stand in rooms whose walls are covered with heavy, purple curtains and strange metal eyes that are guarding the area.
The library extends over several floors and although I have been here for a long time now, I am sure that I have only seen a fraction of it so far.
In the light of the flickering torches, scripts, travel reports, and ancient tomes line up causing the dark wood of the bookshelves to sag and creak.
Thick layers of dust prove that only few scholars of Zathroth are still aware of the existence of this source of prohibited knowledge.
That is no surprise, considering that this place was protected from the outside world by mighty seals many centuries ago, seals so powerful that the library has remained hidden from our eyes to this day.
I am not sure if Zathroth's servants have taken me in as a reward for my years of searching for this place or if I am just a pawn for the creatures living here.
Every step I take is being watched. In the walls, in the lamps, there are eyes everywhere, you are never alone.
Endless corridors connect the bigger reading rooms. On their left and right there are often smaller rooms but many are sealed by heavy iron doors.
Other doors are guarded by barking, biting books. They seem to have broken free from the chains, which were probably meant to keep those beasts in a certain place.
Over the aeons in which this library has already existed, numerous scholars must have rendered outstanding services. Busts and statues of these venerable scholars are scattered throughout the library.
I have never encountered any of them, though. The corridors and halls are crowded with all kinds of magical creatures, but I have never met a human being in here.
I still stand firm against the thought that the scholars might have become these creatures over the years. That their greed for knowledge and their numerous experiments with the darkest of all magical spells have turned them into what they worshiped the most.
What if I am going to face the same fate?
These animated feathers, for example. At least 2 meters high and gifted with a quill harder and stronger than the forged metal of the dwarves of Kazordoon, they press thick furrows filled with black ink into the solid base plates of the library. That deafening sound makes my blood run cold in my veins.
I have seen them copying texts at the speed of light but usually they act more like librarians, refreshing protection glyphs in order to keep that dangerous knowledge under control.
The feathers are often accompanied by cursed books, from which I try to keep my safe distance.
These thick tomes scroll their pages at an incredible speed, allowing them to float in the air due to the air pressure they release. I have read that they were originally only prisoners in these halls themselves.
Created by failed spells of dilettantish magicians who tried their hand at dark spells, these books were hunted and captured by Zathroth's followers to gain and explore the forbidden knowledge written on their pages.
There are squids with huge brains. They count as one of the highest ranking servants of Zathroth and their word is law for many other servants.
I know this all might sound tempting, especially for those Tibian heroes that are looking for the next challenge. But again, this letter, if it ever reaches a Tibian, is meant as a warning. A warning to everyone to stay away from this place. I am an advocate of knowledge and I see it as my duty to write down everything I have found out but please do not come here.
Even if you could find a way to break those mighty seals, the creatures who guard this library would tear you to pieces. Their strength is beyond compare. I believe that no one can compete with them!
I can only admonish you of the danger coming from this place. Even though it contradicts my own beliefs, some places better remain hidden.
The Battle Mage
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